Press Release — Wispr Raises Another $10M to Build a More Natural Way to Interact with Technology
Neo, TriplePoint, NEA, and 8VC back Wispr to build the future of personal computing
San Francisco — October 24, 2022 — Wispr, the neurotechnology company building a more natural way to interact with technology, today announced that it raised $10M in equity and debt as part of its Seed II. This brings the total capital raised by Wispr to $14.6M. Major investors in this round include Neo, Triple Point Capital, MVP Ventures, and Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of Coinbase and Paradigm Ventures. Their previous investors, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and 8VC, also increased their ownership in the company. Wispr also brought on some new angel investors like Tom Oxley (CEO of the neurotech startup, Synchron), and Arash Ferdowsi (co-founder and CTO of Dropbox).
Despite new challenges with fundraising due to the current downturn, deep-tech companies like Wispr continue to grow and raise capital at higher valuations. These startups innovate and commercialize technology that creates entirely new markets: such as Apple with personal computers, Intel with microprocessors, and Google with search. Given the technical challenges involved, these companies spend several years building their products before launching them to the consumer market. This shields such companies from market forces and makes them more resilient to short-term fluctuations.
Wispr is challenging one of the technologies that we take as a given — smartphones — and is building a new form of personal computing. Although smartphones have made incremental improvements over the last decade, they haven’t fundamentally changed. The way we interact with them continues to be far from natural: we look down and twiddle our thumbs on a cold piece of glass.
“Two years ago, Sahaj and I asked ourselves, what’s next? That was the birth of Wispr,” said Tanay Kothari, Wispr’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re designing a way to interact with technology by tapping into the ways that humans most naturally interact with one another. We call these interfaces natural interfaces, which are non-invasive neural interfaces that read biosignals from your body, versus most other neural interfaces, which read signals from the brain.”
“We’re designing a way to interact with technology by tapping into the ways that humans most naturally interact with one another. We call these interfaces natural interfaces”
That means users no longer have to type on tiny keyboards or learn to do gestures in the air. Wispr’s human-centered approach lets users interact with technology in the way that’s most natural to them.
“The challenge with building any new technology is that you can get it to work with some effort on one person in a constrained lab setting. A lot of companies building cutting-edge technology fall into this trap with products that never see the light of day,” added Sahaj Garg, Wispr’s co-founder and CTO. “This new round of funding lets us test our system with hundreds of people from varying demographics and ensure that it works reliably and intuitively.”
Wispr’s human-centered approach lets users interact with technology in the way that’s most natural to them.
To build a successful consumer product, Wispr needs to solve a number of engineering and design challenges. The company is putting together a team of world-class engineers and designers to build new technologies and craft new ways of interaction to create a seamless and intuitive experience for users.
“Solving problems this challenging requires focus. My most important job is to make sure our team is unaffected by the macroeconomic conditions and doesn’t have to worry about their careers,” said Kothari. “We want to create grounds for people to do their best work and build something truly remarkable.”
“We want to create grounds for people to do their best work and build something truly remarkable.”
Wispr’s team is reminiscent of early teams at Apple, Sony, and General Magic. Their team includes Anthony Leonardo (previously a group leader at Janelia, best known for his experiment on dragonflies), and Ian Nauhaus (who was a tenured professor at UT Austin and left his position to join Wispr full-time), among numerous other PhDs and postdocs. They also brought on advisors like Reid Harrison (co-founder & CEO of Intan) and Chester Chipperfield (who previously was the Global Creative Director at Tesla and also led the launch of the Apple Watch I).
About Wispr AI
Founded in 2021, Wispr AI is building a more natural interface to interact with technology and bring it to every human on the planet. Wispr AI is a frontier-tech consumer electronics company, headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit https://wispr.ai.